The Phoenix Suns have been a model NBA franchise that has enjoyed success for a long time.
They are currently in an unusual situation. It’s only the third time in the Suns 45-year history they’ve endured three consecutive losing seasons.
You don’t have three different head coaches in less than a year if things are going well. Welcome to the party new head coach Jeff Hornacek.
Let’s face it, the Suns fan base has lived a pretty charmed life, which Hornacek was once a part of.
In the past, the organization has shown an ability to acquire franchise players. Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, Stephon Marbury, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudemire roamed the court in purple and orange over the past 20 years. It’s an impressive group of players that brought a lot of success.
Phoenix has made it a priority to highlight and connect with these times. I get why they’re selling the past, but that’s all it is. Nothing that went well then is going to help them now.
Most teams aren’t able to transition from era to era as seamlessly as the Suns did. What Phoenix is going through now is the process some teams have to go through. Rebuilding in the NBA is a difficult process.
New general manager Ryan McDonough understands this. In Boston it took two years, and a Kevin McHale gift to his former team, to get from the Antoine Walker/Paul Pierce team to the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce/Ray Allen squad, and that was with a player who was the best guy on a team that got to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Suns, from a talent standpoint, are in one of the worst situations in the NBA.
Hornacek knows what he’s getting into and nothing he did in a Suns uniform will be of service. As a matter of fact, it’s meaningless.
There are some factors of his past that do matter. What has he learned from Jerry Sloan and Cotton Fitzsimmons?
Once the Suns start to turn it around, will he bring Tyrone Corbin’s propensity to play lineups that aren’t any good? I add ‘turn it around’ because playing the wrong groups next year to tank for superstar prospect Andrew Wiggins is perfectly acceptable.
Utah finished two games out of the eighth spot in the West and that was with them not playing their best players sufficient minutes. If Utah switched around its rotation, they might have snuck into the playoffs. Did Hornacek have any control over that or is it something he learned from? I have no idea.
These are the parts of the past that will help shape the Suns’ future.
Phoenix could use the motto Rick Pitino made so famous:
Charles Barkley isn’t walking through that door, Steve Nash isn’t walking through that door and Jason Kidd isn’t walking through that door.
A bunch of first round picks and cap space is. What happens with that is what actually matters.